Has Avril Lavigne actually been replaced? All the conspiracy theories on Sk8er Boi star’s ‘disappearance’
Posted by  badge Boss on Mar 14
Some fans are convinced a body double replaced Avril Lavigne around 2002 (Picture: Getty Images)

One of the internet’s has gotten a very funny new spokesperson. 

’s new Sounds is tackling one of the craziest rumours in show biz – that singer died after the release of her debut album in 2002 and has since been replaced by a lookalike who has continued her career for nearly a decade. 

Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. According to McNally, 40, that’s what makes it so addictive. 

The comedian’s new series, Joanne McNally Investigates, has released three episodes to date unpacking the crazy rumour, which began in 2011 when a Brazilian blog called Avril Está Morta (Avril is Dead) first posited the theory. 

The Irish comedian explains the theory as this: 17-year-old Lavigne skyrocketed to stardom in 2002 with the release of Let Go but soon struggled to cope with the fame. After the death of her beloved grandfather, the singer took her own life, leaving adrift the music industry execs who were counting on her earning potential.

Now, according to the rumours, the person who last year and just isn’t Lavigne at all.

Joanne McNally (left) deep dives into Avril Lavigne (right) conspiracy theories in her new podcast (Picture: Getty Images)

Instead of finding a new act, the record executives hired a doppelganger named Melissa to pose as the Sk8er Boi singer As McNally puts it in the podcast, they just couldn’t let go of their ‘money horse’ (she quickly and hilariously realises she meant to say cash cow). 

While the theory sounds absurd on the surface, there are just enough strange details to make one question if there really could be some truth to the story.

Lavigne and rapper Tyga dated in 2023 (Picture: Getty Images)

As McNally explains it all to her sceptical guest, comedian Gearoid Farrelly, 46, in the six-part series’ first episode, he surprises himself by beginning to buy into it. 

Details include Lavigne’s changed handwriting over the years, a noticable shift in appearance and even height, and an altered speaking voice. Plus, sharp-eyed fans once noted that she had ‘Melissa’ written on her hand in an interview, as if the doppelganger was sending out a silent cry for help. 

It’s an enticing story and McNally knows it, combining her dry wit with genuine curiosity as she attempts to get to the bottom of it all.

Many think Lavigne’s appearance has drastically changed over the years (Picture: Getty Images)

In the second episode McNally even travels to Lavigne’s hometown, a tiny suburb in Canada, and interviews people who knew the singer before she was plucked from obscurity at just 14. Her high school teacher describes Lavigne as ‘full of energy’ and the man who now owns the house Lavigne grew up in laughs heartily as McNally’s suggestion that he may secretly be Lavigne’s father.

While McNally uncovers very little in the way of concrete evidence, it’s a fun ride that ends up speaking more to McNally’s skill as a host than it does to any kind of hard-hitting journalistic breakthroughs. Mostly, it’s a joy to listen to small-town Canadians attempt to understand the Irish comedian’s accent.

Online sleuths have even compared Avril Lavigne’s handwriting, claiming its drastically changed since 2002 (Picture: X/Avril Lavigne)

McNally manages to keep listeners engaged despite her lack of breakthroughs, ultimately examining the effects of fame by interviewing comedian Joe Lycett, 35, who ruminates on how stardom has affected his life. 

The pair discuss the phenomenon of celebrity body doubles and even explore testimonies from people who have found employment pretending to be celebrities, opening the podcast up to a fascinating wider discussion of fame. 

In the third episode McNally talks to presenter Dave Benson Phillips, 59, who was the subject of a death hoax some years ago. They talk about the way conspiracies catch fire online, making several salient points about the nature of internet echo chambers and how celebrities cease to be real people.

All in all, McNally’s new show is excellent entertainment. Whether she cracks the case of Avril Lavigne’s alleged death remains to be seen, but it doesn’t much matter with a host who’s as much fun as McNally.